Subj:     Tear Jerker1 Stories
                 (Includes 13 jokes and articles, 24 1119n,3,cf,wXT2a,2)

Flower from
AGAG Animation Gallery
Includes the following:  Validation - Video (S635)
.........................Awful-Looking Old Man Knocks At The Door (S45, S321)
.........................Bartering For Marbles (S421)
.........................The Boys Of Iwo Jima - Storu w/Photo (S603)
.........................Everybody Has A Dream (S80)
.........................You Are My Sunshine
.........................Orphan Jaden Hayes Smiles - Video (S970)
.........................One Prom, One Boy, Seven Dates
.........................The Other Woman (S449)
.........................Flowers For Mom (S658)
.........................Reflections of the Vietnam Wall (S68)
.........................Attitude Is Everything (S40, S586c)
.........................Taps (S119)

Also see ARTIST file  - 'The Painters:'
         BASEBALL file- 'Tale of a Sport's Mom'
         CARS2 file   - 'Moonlight Ride'
         CHRISTMAS1   - 'A Box of Kisses'
         CHRISTMAS-SUP- 'The Christmas Shoes Song By NewSong' - Video
         FIREMEN file - 'Eric, a Firefighter In Denmark' - Video
......................- 'The Littlest Fireman'
         FUNERAL file - 'Keep Your Fork'
         HANDICAPPED  - 'Shay Plays Baseball'
         HANDICAP-SUPP- 'Strongest Dad In The World'
         MAILMAN-ETC  - 'Doggie Heaven'
         MOVIES-TV-PLY- 'The Man Who Had No Face'
......................- 'Saving Private Ryan'
         NEW_YORKER   - 'An Awesome 9-11 Story'
         PHONE file   - 'Information Please'
         PLANE1 file  - 'Welcoming The Troups In Maine'
......................- 'Coming Home'
         PLANE-SUPP2  - 'In Descent Proposal' - Video
         POLICE2 file - 'Stopped While Going To Church'
         PREACHER file- 'Daddy's Empty Chair'
         SANTA file   - 'The Real Santa'
         SCHOOL2 file - 'Little Teddy's Teacher'
         SCHOOL3 file - 'The Sister's "List Of Names" Assignment'
         SCHOOL-SUPP3 - 'A Unique Teacher Imparts Real Life Lessons' - Video
         STORIES      - 'Cab Driver And The 80 Year Old Lady'
         STORIES-SUPP - 'The Famous Paper Clips'
         THOUGHTSLRND2- 'Rose, A 87 Year Old College Student'
         THOUGHTS-TIME- 'Going Back Home For a Neighbors Funeral'
         THOUGHTS-WARM- 'Who You Are Makes A Difference'
         TRAIN file   - 'Army-Navy Football Train'
Subj:     Validation (S635d)
          By Kurt Kuenna
          From: bud32252 on 3/6/2009
 Source: http://www.youtube.com/embed/Cbk980jV7Ao
 "Validation" is a fable about the magic of free parking. Starring
 TJ Thyne and Vicki Davis.  This video is totally worth the sixteen
 minutes of your life it takes to see it.  It is absolutely awesome.
 You can enjoy this video by clicking 'HERE'.

Subj:     Awful-Looking Old Man Knocks At The Door (S45, S321)
          From: TNKRTEACH on 97-12-05
      and From: mombear1 on 3/23/2003

 Our house was directly across the street from the entrance
 to the clinic of the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
 We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out-
 patients at the clinic.

 One summer evening, as I fixed supper, there was a knock
 at the door, I opened it to see a truly awful-looking old
 man.  "Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old," I
 thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body.  Most
 appalling, his face was lopsided from swelling, red and
 raw.  Yet his voice was pleasant, "Good evening.  I've
 come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came
 for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and
 there's no bus till morning."  He told me he'd been
 hunting for a room since noon but with no success.  "I
 guess it's my face.  I know it looks terrible, but my
 doctor says with a few more treatments..."

 For a moment I hesitated but his next words convinced me.
 "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch.  My
 bus leaves early in the morning."  I told him we would
 find him a bed, but meanwhile he could rest on the porch.
 I went inside and finished getting supper.  When we were
 ready, I asked the old man if he would join us.  "No thank-
 you.  I have plenty." He held up a brown -paper bag.

 When I finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk
 with him for a few minutes.  It didn't take long to see
 that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that
 tiny body.  He told me he fished for a living to support
 his daughter, her five children and her husband, who was
 hopelessly crippled from a back injury.  He didn't tell it
 by way of complaint.  Every other sentence was prefaced
 with thanks to God for a blessing.  He was grateful that
 no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a
 form of skin cancer.  He thanked God for giving him the
 strength to keep going.

 When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly
 folded and the little old man was out on the porch.  He
 refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus,
 he haltingly, as if asking for a great favor, he said,
 "Could I please come back and stay the next time I have
 to have a treatment?  I won't put you out a bit, I can
 sleep fine in a chair."  He paused a moment and then
 added, "Your children made me feel at home.  Grownups
 are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to
 mind."  I told him he was welcome to come again.

 On his next trip, he arrived a little after seven in the
 morning.  As a gift, he brought us a big fish and a quart
 of the largest oysters I have ever seen. He said that he
 had shucked them that morning before he left so they
 would be nice and fresh.  I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m.
 and wondered what time he had to get up in order to do

 Over the years he came to stay overnight with us, there
 was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters
 or vegetables from his garden.  Other times we received
 packages in the mail, always by special delivery, fish
 and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or
 kale, each leaf carefully washed.  Knowing that he must
 walk three miles to mail these and how little money he
 had made these gifts doubly precious.  When I received
 these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment
 our next-door neighbor had made after the fisherman left
 that first morning.  "Did you keep that awful-looking
 old man last night?  I turned him away.  You can lose
 roomers by putting up such people."

 Maybe we did, once or twice.  But oh, if they could have
 known him, perhaps their illnesses would be easier to
 bear.  I know our family always will be grateful to have
 known him.  From him we learned what it was to accept the
 bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

 Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse.
 As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful
 one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with bloom.
 But to great surprise, it was growing in an old dented,
 rusty bucket.  I thought to myself, if this were my plant
 I'd put it in the loveliest container I had.  My friend
 changed my mind.  "I ran short of pots," she explained,
 "and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought
 it wouldn't mind starting in this old pail.  It's just for
 a little while till I can put it out in the garden."  She
 must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was
 imagining just such a scene in heaven.  "Here's an
 especially beautiful one.  He won't mind starting in this
 small ugly body."

 Author unknown

Subj:     Bartering For Marbles (S421)
          From: Joke-Of-The-Day-Mail.com on 2/17/2005

 Bob Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me when I
 noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged
 but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked
 green peas.

 I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display
 of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and
 new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help over-
 hearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged
 boy next to me.

 "Hello Barry, how are you today?"

 "H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas.
 Sure look good."

 "They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"

 "Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time."

 "Good. Anything I can help you with?"

 "No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."

 "Would you like to take some home?"

 "No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."

 "Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"

 "All I got's my prize marble here."

 "Is that right? Let me see it."

 "Here 'tis. She's a dandy."
 "I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue
 and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this
 at home?"

 "Not zackley, but almost."

 "Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and
 next trip this way let me look at that red marble."

 "Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller." Mrs. Miller, who had been
 standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she
 said, "There are two other boys like him in our community,
 all three are in very poor circumstances.

 Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples,
 tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red
 marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like
 red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce
 for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."

 I left the stand smiling to myself, impressed with this man.
 A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot
 the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering.

 Several years went by, each more rapid that the previous
 one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends
 in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that
 Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that
 evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to
 accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into
 line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer
 whatever words of comfort we could.

 Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an
 army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark
 suits and white shirts ... all very professional looking.

 They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling
 by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her,
 kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved
 on to the casket.

 Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one;
 each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand
 over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the
 mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

 Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and
 mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. With
 her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

 "Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you
 about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim
 "traded" them.  Now, at last, when Jim could not change his
 mind about color or size ... they came to pay their debt."

 "We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,"
 she confided, "but right now, Jim would consider himself the
 richest man in Idaho."

 With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of
 her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely
 shined red marbles.

 This is Rex Barker C.S. (Crying Softly) reminded that we will
 not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds.

 Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the
 moments that takes our breath.

Subj:     The Boys Of Iwo Jima (S603)
          From: ICohen on 11/04/2000
      and From: rfslick on 7/28/2008
 The Boys of Iwo Jima
      Written by Wisconsin Resident,
      Michael T. Powers

 Each year I am hired to go to Washington DC
 with the eight grade class from Clinton, WI
 where I grew up, to videotape their trip.  I
 greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol,
 and each year I take some special memories
 back with me.

 This fall's trip was especially memorable.
 On the last night of our trip we stopped at
 the Iwo Jima memorial.  This memorial is the

Photo from Snopes.com
 largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most
 famous photographs in history - that of the six brave soldiers
 raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the
 Island of Iwo Jima, Japan during WW II.

 Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses
 and headed towards the memorial.

 I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and
 as I got closer he asked, "Where are you guys from?" I told
 him that we were from Wisconsin. "Hey, I'm a cheesehead too!
 Come gather around Cheeseheads, and I will tell you a story."

 (James Bradley just happened to be in Washington DC to speak
 at the memorial the following day.)

 He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who
 has since passed away.  He was just about to leave when he
 saw the buses pull up.  I videotaped him as he spoke to us,
 and received his permission to share what he said from my

 It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with
 history in Washington DC.  But it is quite another to get
 the kind of insight we received that night.  When all had
 gathered around he reverently began to speak.  Here are his
 words that night.

 "My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin.
 My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called
 "Flags of Our Fathers" which is #5 on the New York Times
 Best Seller list right now.  It is the story of the six boys
 you see behind me.  Six boys raised the flag.

 The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block
 Harlon was an all-state football player.  He enlisted in the
 Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football
 team.  They were off to play another type of game.  A game
 called "War." But it didn't turn out to be a game.  Harlon,
 at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands.  I
 don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there
 are generals who stand in front of this statue and talk about
 the glory of war.  You guys need to know that most of the
 boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old.

 (He pointed to the statue.)
 You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire.
 If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was
 taken, and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would
 find a photograph. A photograph of his girlfriend.  Rene put
 that in their for protection, because he was scared.  He was
 18 years old.  Boys won the battle of Iwo Jima.  Boys.  Not
 old men.

 The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant
 Mike Strank.  Mike is my hero.  He was the hero of all these
 guys. They called him the "old man" because he was so old.  He
 was already 24.  When Mike would motivate his boys in training
 camp, he didn't say, "Let's go kill some Japanese" or "Let's
 die for our country."

 He knew he was talking to little boys.  Instead he would say,
 "You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers."

 The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pema
 Indian from Arizona.  Ira Hayes walked off Iwo Jima.  He went
 into the White House with my dad.  President Truman told him,
 "You're a hero."  He told reporters, "How can I feel like a
 hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27
 of us walked off alive?"  So you take your class at school.
 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing every-
 thing together.  Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only
 27 of your classmates walk off alive.  That was Ira Hayes.  He
 had images of horror in his mind.  Ira Hayes died dead drunk,
 face down at the age of 32.  Ten years after this picture was

 The next guy going around the statue is Franklin Sousley from
 Hilltop Kentucky.  A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy.  His best friend,
 who is now 70 told me, "Yeah you know, we took two cows up on
 the porch of the Hilltop General Store.  Then we strung wire
 across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down.  Then we fed
 them Epson salts.  Those cows crapped all night."  Yes he was
 a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy.  Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the
 age of 19.  When the telegram came to tell his mother that he
 was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store.  A barefoot boy
 ran that telegram up to his mother's farm.  The neighbors could
 hear her scream all night and into the morning.  The neighbors
 lived a quarter of a mile away.

 The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue is my dad,
 John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised.  My
 dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews.  When
 Walter Kronkite's producers, or the New York Times would call,
 we were trained as little kids to say, "No, I'm sorry sir, my
 dad's not here.  He is in Canada fishing.  No, there is no
 phone there sir.  No, we don't know when he is coming back."
 My dad never fished or even went to Canada.  Usually he was
 sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell's soup.
 But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing.  He did
 not want to talk to the press.  You see, my dad didn't see him-
 self as a hero.

 Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a
 photo and a monument.  My dad knew better.  He was a medic.
 John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver.  In Iwo Jima he
 probably held over 200 boys as they died.  And when boys died
 in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in pain.  When I was a
 little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a
 hero.  When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me
 and said, "I want you always to remember that the heroes of
 Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. DID not come back."

 So that's the story about six nice young boys.  Three died on
 Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes.  Overall 7000
 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the
 Marine Corps.

 My voice is giving out, so I will end here.  Thank you for your
 time."  Suddenly the monument wasn't just a big old piece of
 metal with a flag sticking out of the top.  It came to life
 before our eyes with the heartfelt words of the son who did
 indeed have a father who was a hero.  Maybe not a hero for the
 reasons most people would believe, but a hero none-the-less.

 This story is verivied at true by Snopes.com at

Subj:     Everybody Has A Dream (S80)
          From: smiles on 98-08-10

               Everybody Has A Dream
                     By Virginia Satir
               (c) 1993 Chicken Soup for the Soul

 Some years ago I took on an assignment in a southern county
 to work with people on public welfare.  What I wanted to
 do was show that everybody has the capacity to be self-
 sufficient and all we have to do is to activate them.  I
 asked the county to pick a group of people who were on
 public welfare, people from different racial groups and
 different family constellations. I would then see them as
 a group for three hours every Friday.  I also asked for a
 little petty cash to work with as I needed it.

 The first thing I said after I shook hands with everybody
 was,"I would like to know what your dreams are."  Everyone
 looked at me as if I were kind of wacky.

 "Dreams?  We don't have dreams." I said, "Well, when you
 were a kid what happened?  Wasn't there something you wanted
 to do?"

 One woman said to me, "I don't know what you can do with
 dreams.  The rats are eating up my kids"

 "Oh," I said. "That terrible. No, of course, you are very
  much involved with the rats and your kids.  How can that be

"Well, I could use a new screen door because there are holes
 in my screen door."

 I asked, "Is there anybody around here who knows how to fix
 a screen door?"

 There was a man in the group, and he said, "A long time ago
 I used to do things like that but now I have a terribly bad
 back, but I'll try."

 I told him I had some money if he would go to the store and
 buy some screening and go and fix the lady's screen door.
 "Do you think you can do that?"

 "Yes, I'll try."

 The next week, when the group was seated, I said to the woman,
 "Well is your screen door fixed?"

 "Oh, yes," She said.

 "Then we can start dreaming, can't we?" She sort of smiled at
  me.  I said to the man who did the work ,"How do you feel?"

 He said, "Well, you know, it's a very funny thing. I'm
 beginning to feel a lot better."

 That helped the group to begin to dream.  These seemingly
 small successes allowed the group to see that dreams were
 not insane.  These small steps began to get people to see
 and feel that something really could happen.

 I began to ask other people about their dreams.  One woman
 shared that she always wanted to be a secretary.  I said,
 "Well, what stands in your way?" (That's always my next

 She said, "I have six kids, and I don't have anyone to take
 care of them while I'm away."

 "Let's find out," I said. "Is there anybody in this group
 who would take care of six kids for a day or two a week
 while this woman gets some training here at the community

 One woman said "I got kids, too, but I could do that."

 "Let's do it," I said.  So a plan was created and the
 woman went to school.

 Everyone found something.  The man who put in the screen
 door became a handyman.  The woman who took in the children
 became a licensed foster care person.  In 12 weeks I had
 all these people off public welfare.  I've not only done
 that once, I've done it many times.

Subj:     You Are My Sunshine
          From: Anaise on 98-05-24

 Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby
 was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-
 old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.  They find out
 that the new baby is going to be a girl, and day after day,
 night after night, Michael sings to his sister in Mommy's

 The pregnancy progresses normally for Karen, an active member
 of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown,
 Tennessee.  Then the labor pains come.  Every five minutes...
 every minute.  But complications arise during delivery. Hours
 of labor.  Would a C-section be required?  Finally, Michael's
 little sister is born. But she is in serious condition.  With
 siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushes the infant
 to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital,
 Knoxville, Tennessee.

 The days inch by.  The little girl gets worse.  The pediatric
 specialist tells the parents, "There is very little hope.  Be
 prepared for the worst."  Karen and her husband contact a
 local cemetery about a burial plot.  They have fixed up a
 special room in their home for the new baby, now they plan a

 Michael, keeps begging his parents to let him see his sister,
 "I want to sing to her," he says.

 Week two in intensive care.  It looks as if a funeral will
 come before the week is over.  Michael keeps nagging about
 singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive
 Care.  But Karen makes up her mind.  She will take Michael
 whether they like it or not.  If he doesn't see his sister
 now, he may never see her alive.

 She dresses him in an oversized scrub suit and marches him
 into ICU.  He looks like a walking laundry basket, but the
 head nurse recognizes him as a child and bellows, "Get that
 kid out of here now! No children are allowed in ICU."

 The mother rises up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-
 mannered lady glares steel-eyed into the head nurse's face,
 her lips a firm line.  "He is not leaving until he sings to
 his sister!"

 Karen tows Michael to his sister's bedside.  He gazes at
 the tiny infant losing the battle to live.  And he begins
 to sing.  In the pure hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael

 "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy
 when skies are gray --- "  Instantly the baby girl responds.
 The pulse rate becomes calm and steady.

 Keep on singing, Michael.

 "You never know, dear, how much I love you,
 Please don't take my sunshine away---"

 The ragged, strained breathing becomes as smooth as a
 kitten's purr.

 Keep on singing, Michael.

 "The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I
 held you in my arms..." Michael's little sister relaxes
 as rest, healing rest, seems to sweep over her.  Tears
 conquer the face of the bossy head nurse.  Karen glows.

 "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't,
 take my sunshine away."

 The girl is well enough to go home!  Woman's Day magazine
 called it "The miracle of a brother's song."  The medical
 staff just called it a miracle.  Karen called it a miracle
 of God's love.  A few weeks later, Michael's little sister
 was baptized at the Panther Creek Church.

Subj:     Orphan Jaden Hayes Smiles (S970d)
          Published by CBS Evening News
          From: Kristine Passalacqua on Facebook
Photo from Today News
 Source: http://www.youtube.com/embed/OCPc2RlMTII

 Jaden Hayes lost both of his parents at a young age. But he
 is determined to live life with joy. As Steve Hartman shows
 us, the six-year-old is embarking on a mission to turn frowns
 into smiles.  Click 'HERE' to hear Jaden's wonderful story.

Subj:     One Prom, One Boy, Seven Dates
          From: Anaise on 98-05-19

 This was in the news this morning, so it must be true! --Ann

 One date is often a handful, but Luke Buchheit, 17, of
 McMinnville, OR, pulled off an incredible feat by bringing
 seven young ladies to the prom.

 As the big day approached, Buchheit didn't know who to invite,
 so he asked his cousin how many girls still had no dates for
 the big dance.

 "I might have been half-joking at first when I said I'd take
 them all, but then I thought, this might be kind of cool,"
 he said.

 So in the weeks before the May 2 prom, Buchheit made seven
 phone calls.  Then he ordered seven corsages and a boutonniere
 with seven rhinestones.

 He also worked to raise $500 to buy eight prom tickets, his
 tux and an eight person dinner.

 Seated at the head of the table, flanked by two rows of girls,
 Buchheit couldn't help but feel it was worth it.

 Men stopped to pat him on the back and grinned foolishly.  An
 elderly woman worked up the nerve to ask what everyone else
 was wondering:

 "Does one of you have a date and the rest are going stag?" she

 "No," the girls said. "We're all going with Luke."

 Though the girls joked about "Luke's harem," friendship
 overruled romance.  Many of the teens have known each other
 since kindergarten.

Subj:     The Other Woman (S449)
          From: auntiegah on 8/20/2005

 After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping
 alive the spark of love.  A little while ago I had started to
 go out with another woman.  It was really my wife's idea. "I
 know that you love her," she said one day, taking me by
 surprise.  "But I love YOU," I protested. "I know, but you
 also love her."

 The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother,
 who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work
 and my three children had made it possible to visit her only

 That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a
 movie. "What's wrong, are you well?" she asked.  My mother is
 the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a
 surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

 "I thought that it would be pleasant to pass some time with
 you," I responded.  "Just the two of us."  She thought about
 it for a moment then said "I would like that very much."  That
 Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit
 nervous.  When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too,
 seemed to be nervous about our date.  She waited in the door
 with her coat on.  She had curled her hair and was wearing the
 dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary.
 She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's.  "I
 told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they
 were impressed," she said, as she got into the car.  "They can't
 wait to hear about our meeting".

 We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very
 nice and cozy.  My mother took my arm as if she were the First
 Lady.  After we sat down, I had to read the menu to her.  Her
 eyes could only read large print.  Half way through the entree,
 I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me.  A
 nostalgic smile was on her lips.  "It was I who used to have
 to read the menu when you were small," she said.  "Then it's
 time for you to relax and let me return the favor," I responded.

 During the dinner we had an agreeable conversation, nothing
 extraordinary - but catching up on recent events of each others
 lives.  We talked so much that we missed the movie.  As we
 arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll go out with you
 again, but only if you let me invite you".  I agreed.  "How
 was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home.  "Very
 nice.  Much more so than I could have imagined," I answered.

 A few days later my mother died of a massive heart attack.  It
 happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything
 for her.  Some time later I received an envelope with a copy of
 a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined.
 An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance.  I was
 almost sure that I couldn't be there but, nevertheless, I paid
 for two plates -one for you and the other for your wife.  You
 will never know what that night meant to me. I love you."

 At that moment I understood the importance of saying, in time:
 "I LOVE YOU" and giving our loved ones the time that they
 deserve.  Nothing in life is more important than God and your
 family and friends. Give them the time they deserve, because
 these things cannot be put off 'til "some other time".  Some-
 one once said "I've learned that, regardless of your relation-
 ship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone
 from your life.  I think this is true with your in-laws,
 grandchildren, sisters, brothers and your friends.  Anyone
 that means something to you-you should spend time with them
 and let them know how much they mean to you as often as you

Subj:     Flowers For Mom (S658)
          From: RFSlick on 98-05-13

 A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be
 wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away. As he
 got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb
 sobbing. He asked her what was wrong and she replied,
 "I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother, but I only have
 seventy-five cents.  A rose costs two dollars."

 The man smiled and said, "Come on in with me. I'll buy you a

 He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother's
 flowers. As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home.
 She said, "Yes, please! You can take me to my mother."

 She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on
 a freshly covered grave.

 After he left the girl, the man returned to the flower shop,
 cancelled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the
 two hundred miles to his mother's house.

Subj:     Reflections of the Vietnam Wall (S68)
          From: RFSlick on 98-05-13

 If you've ever seen the painting "Reflections" of the
 Vietnam Wall in Washington, you've seen the man
 standing there with his hand on the wall, mourning
 his dead father or brother who was killed.  What he
 doesn't see is the reflection from the other side
 showing that relative with HIS hand on the wall,
 touching the hand of his survivor.  That painting
 inspired this story.

 By Patrick Camunes

 "There are so many things that are written about
 the Wall but never anything of being on the other
 side. I was inspired by the picture Reflections that I
 use as wallpaper on my PC and a recent story,
 Autumn Wall."

 At first there was no place for us to go until
 someone put up that Black Granite Wall.  Now,
 everyday and night, my Brothers and my Sisters
 wait to see the many people from places afar file in
 front of this Wall.  Many stopping briefly and many
 for hours and some that come on a regular basis. It
 was hard at first, not that it's gotten any easier, but
 it seems that many of the attitudes towards that war
 that we were involved in have changed. I can only
 pray that the ones on the other side have learned
 something and more Walls as this one needn't be

 Several members of my unit and many that I did not
 recognize have called me to the Wall by touching
 my name that is engraved upon it.  The tears aren't
 necessary but are hard even for me to hold back.
 Don't feel guilty for not being with me, my Brothers.
 This was my destiny as it is yours, to be on that
 side of the Wall.

 Touch the Wall, my Brothers, so that we can share
 in the memories that we had.  I have learned to put
 the bad memories aside and remember only the
 pleasant times that we had together.  Tell our other
 Brothers out there to come and visit me, not to say
 Good Bye but to say Hello and be together again,
 even for a short time and to ease that pain of loss
 that we all share.

 Today, an irresistible and loving call comes from
 the Wall. As I approach I can see an elderly lady
 and as I get closer I recognize her.......It's Momma!
 As much as I have looked forward to this day, I
 have also regretted it because I didn't know what
 reaction I would have.

 Next to her, I suddenly see my wife and
 immediately think how hard it must of been for her
 to come to this place and my mind floods with the
 pleasant memories of 30 years past.  There's a
 young man in a military uniform standing with his
 arm around her......My God!......It's...it has to be my
 son.  Look at him trying to be the man without a
 tear in his eye.  I yearn to tell him how proud I am,
 seeing him standing tall, straight and proud in his

 Momma comes closer and touches the Wall and I
 feel the soft and gentle touch I had not felt in so
 many years.  Dad has crossed to this side of the
 Wall and through our touch, I try to convey to her
 that Dad is doing fine and is no longer suffering or
 feeling pain.  I see my wife's courage building as
 she sees Momma touch the Wall and she
 approaches and lays her hand on my waiting hand.
 All the emotions, feelings and memories of three
 decades past flash between our touch and I tell her
 that it's all right.  Carry on with your life and don't
 worry about me......I can see as I look into her eyes
 that she hears and understands me and a big
 burden has been lifted from her.

 I watch as they lay flowers and other memories of
 my past.  My lucky charm that was taken from me
 and sent to her by my CO, a tattered and worn
 teddy bear that I can barely remember having as I
 grew up as a child and several medals that I had
 earned and were presented to my wife.  One of them
 is the Combat Infantry Badge that I am very proud
 of and I notice that my son is also wearing this
 medal.  I had earned mine in the jungles of
 Vietnam and he had probably earned his in the
 deserts of Iraq.

 I can tell that they are preparing to leave and I try to
 take a mental picture of them together, because I
 don't know when I will see them again.  I wouldn't
 blame them if they were not to return and can
 only thank them that I was not forgotten.  My wife
 and Momma near the Wall for one final touch and
 so many years of indecision, fear and sorrow are
 let go.  As they turn to leave I feel my tears that had
 not flowed for so many years, form as if dew drops
 on the other side of the Wall.

 They slowly move away with only a glance over
 their shoulder.  My son suddenly stops and slowly
 returns.   He stands straight and proud in front of
 me and snaps a salute.   Something makes him
 move to the Wall and he puts his hand upon the
 Wall and touches my tears that had formed on the
 face of the Wall and I can tell that he senses my
 presence there and the pride and the love that I
 have for him.  He falls to his knees and the tears
 flow from his eyes and I try my best to reassure him
 that it's all right and the tears do not make him any
 less of a man.

 As he moves back wiping the tears from his eyes,
 he silently mouths, God Bless you, Dad......   God
 Bless, YOU, Son......  We WILL meet someday but
 in the meanwhile, go on your way......  There is no
 hurry.......There is no hurry at all.

 As I see them walk off in the distance, I yell out to
 THEM and EVERYONE there today, as loud as I
 can,.........THANKS FOR REMEMBERING and as
 others on this side of the Wall join in, I notice that
 the US Flag that so proudly flies in front of us
 everyday, is flapping and standing proudly straight
 out in the wind today.  THANK YOU ALL FOR REMEMBERING.....

Subj:     Attitude Is Everything By Francie Baltazar-Schwartz
          From: DR SWITZER on 97-06-03
      and From: rfslick on 4/6/2008 (S40, S586c)

 Hi: this came to me from my friend's Woodbadge counselor
 (Boy Scouts).  It is well worth passing on.

 Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate.  He was always
 in a good mood and always had something positive to say.
 When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply,
 "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

 He was a unique restaurant manager because he had several
 waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to
 restaurant.  The reason the waiters followed Jerry was
 because of his attitude.  He was a natural motivator.  If
 an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling
 the employee how to look on the positive side of the
 situation.  Seeing this style really made me curious, so
 one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get
 it!  You can't be a positive person all of the time.  How
 do you do it?"

 Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself,
 'Jerry, you have two choices today.  You can choose to be
 in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.'  I
 choose to be in a good mood.  Each time something bad
 happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to
 learn from it.  I choose to learn from it.  Every time
 someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept
 their complaining or I can point out the positive side of
 life.  I choose the positive side of life."

 "Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

 "Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices.  When
 you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.
 You choose how you react to situations.  You choose how
 people will affect your mood.  You choose to be in a good
 mood or bad mood.  The bottom line - It's your choice how
 you live life."

 I reflected on what Jerry said.  Soon there after, I left
 the restaurant industry to start my own business.  We lost
 touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice
 about life instead of reacting to it.

 Several years  later, I heard that Jerry did something you
 are never supposed to do in a restaurant business.  He left
 the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint
 by three armed robbers.  While trying to open the safe, his
 hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination.
 The robbers panicked and shot him.  Luckily, Jerry was found
 relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.
 After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry
 was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets
 still in his body. I saw Jerry about six months after the
 accident.  When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I
 were any better, I'd be twins.  Wanna see my scars?"

 I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone
 through his mind as the robbery took place.

 "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should
 have locked the back door," Jerry replied.  "Then, as I lay
 on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices  I could
 choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.

 "Weren't you scared?  Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

 Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great.  They kept
 telling me I was going to be fine.  But when they wheeled
 me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the
 faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.

 In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man.'  I knew I needed
 to take action."

 "What did you do?" I asked.

 "Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at
 me," said Jerry.

 "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied.
 The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for
 my reply...  I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!'

 Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live.
 Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'"

 Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also
 because of his amazing attitude.  I learned from him that
 every day we have the choice to live fully.  Attitude,
 after all, is everything.

Subj:     Taps (S119)
          From: JOELFALLON on 97-02-21

..........See 'True Story Of Taps' in STORIES

                           -(o o)-
..............................From Smiley_Central